- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2019

Prosecutors have charged an IRS employee with leaking secret taxpayer information about President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and apparently using anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti as a conduit to make the information public.

John Fry, an investigative analyst for the IRS’s law enforcement division, stands accused of finding and disseminating IRS suspicious activity reports (SAR).

The SARs detailed massive payments by major international and foreign interests to Cohen and a new company he set up in 2016, Essential Consultants. The payments were reportedly made to gain insight on Mr. Trump through the relationship with his personal “fixer.”

Essential Consultants was the entity that paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who had Mr. Avenatti as her attorney, in what Cohen now says was an illegal hush payment he made on behalf of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Fry was charged earlier this month but the case was unsealed Thursday, when he made an initial appearance in court and was released on a $50,000 bond.

His next appearance is scheduled for March 13.

According to an affidavit filed by a special agent at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Mr. Fry admitted to investigators that he leaked information to Mr. Avenatti, and also spoke to a reporter at Mr. Avenatti’s instigation.

Investigators traced calls between Mr. Avenatti and Mr. Fry in early May 2018, followed by Mr. Avenatti tweeting some of the secret IRS information.

Mr. Avenatti also served as a source for The Washington Post, which in May 2018 published a story based on the information.

Mr. Fry, at Mr. Avenatti’s instigation, was in contact with a reporter at The New Yorker, who followed up The Post’s report with an article titled “Missing Files Motivated the Leak of Michael Cohen’s Financial Records.” That article was written by Ronan Farrow.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to tax, finance and campaign crimes.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide